Saturday, August 1, 2009

Making Up Missed Ramadhan Fasts in the Second Half of Sya’ban

Making Up Missed Ramadhan Fasts in the Second Half of Sya’aban

I had many days owing the Ramadhan fasts because of pregnancy and giving birth, which coincided with the time of Ramadhan. I have made them up, praise be to Allah, with the exception of the last seven days.

I fasted three of them in the second half of Sya’ban, and I want to do the rest before Ramadhan begins.

But I read on your site that it is not permissible to fast in the second half of Sya’ban, except for a person who habitually fasts. Please advise me, may Allah reward you. I want to know whether I should fast the rest of these days that I owe, or not. If the answer is no, then what is the ruling on the three days that I have already fasted – do I have to make them up again or not?


In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful ;
All the praise and thanks are due to Allah; May peace and blessings of Allah be upon His Messenger.

It was proven that the Prophet  (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: “When Sya’ban is halfway through, do not fast.” [Narrated by Abu Dawud (3237); Ibn Hibban (1651); classified as sahih by al-Albani in Sahih al-Tirmidzi].

There are some exceptions from this prohibition, as follows:

1 – One who observe the fasting on Mondays and Thursdays, which he may do even after halfway through Sya’ban. The evidence for that is the words of the Prophet (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam),

 “Do not anticipate Ramadhan by fasting one or two days before it, except a man who fasts regularly, who should observe his usual fast.”

[Narrated by al-Bukhari, 1914; Muslim, 1082].

2 – A person who started fasting before halfway through Sya’ban, and connects what comes after the halfway point to what came before. This is not included in the prohibition either. The evidence for that is the words of ‘Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) who said:

“The Messenger of Allah (sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) used to fast all of Sya’ban and fast all of Sya’ban except a little.”

[Narrated by al-Bukhari, 1970; Muslim, 1165. This version narrated by Muslim].

Al-Nawawi said: “He used to fast all of Sya’ban and fast all of Sya’ban except a little.” The second phrase is an explanation of the first, pointing out that by “all” what is meant is “most”. This hadith indicates that it is permissible to fast after halfway through Sya’ban, but only for one who joins that to what came before the halfway point.

3 – An exception from this prohibition is also made for one who is making up missed Ramadan fasts.

Al-Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said in al-Majmu’ (6/399):

Our companions said: it is not correct to fast on the “day of doubt” just before Ramadhan, and there is no difference of scholarly opinion on this point … But if a person fasts it to make up a missed day or to fulfil a vow, or as an expiation, that is acceptable, because if it is permissible to observe a voluntary fast on that day, it is more likely to be permissible to observe an obligatory fast… and if a person has to make up a day from Ramadhan, then he has to fast it, because the time left for him to make it up has become very short.

The “day of doubt” is the thirtieth of Sya’ban if it has not been possible to sight the moon of the thirtieth because of cloud, fog, etc. It is called the “day of doubt” because there is some doubt concerning it – is it the last day of Sya’ban or the first day of Ramadhan?

In conclusion, there is nothing wrong with making up a missed Ramadhan fast in the last half of Sha’ban. This is not included in the prohibition of the Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam on fasting after halfway through Sya’ban.

So your fasting of those three days is valid, and you have to fast the remaining days before Ramadhan begins.

And Allah knows best.

[Excerpted from Fatwa No:49884 published in Islam QA]

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